JakeWatts23's Wiz-Blog

The Best Growing Rivalry There Is… | May 15, 2011

“Every single night we are going to let the world know that the Miami Heat are back” – Lebron James

“I feel sorry for two guys who are going to have to guard us” – Dwayne Wade

“Not two, not two, not three, not four, not five (fans screaming), not six (Lebron starts to look stupid), not seven, not eight championships” – Lebron James

“Everything is all about basketball” vs. “Coach Spo knows he has to meet us halfway. He wants to work, we wanna chill” – Chris Bosh

Just less than three hours from now another chapter in the times of the Miami Heat will begin to take shape. Lebron James has been outstanding. Dwayne Wade has arguably been the best player of the playoffs this far. Chris Bosh got his one big play of the playoffs in and it was essentially the deadly blow the aged and beaten Boston Celtics. There is no question that the Miami Heat are the favorites to not only win the series against the Chicago Bulls, but also to then roll up on the winner of the Western Conference.

After a season that in many was disappointing and underwhelming, the Heat have caught their stride at the best time. With an 8-2 record thus far in the playoffs and an extremely impressive round 2 performance against the Eastern Conference’s best team of the last four years, the heat are on fire (pun intended).

The Chicago Bulls, the NBA’s surprise team of the 2010-2011 season, come into this series as the underdogs. They have the league’s MVP. They have the league’s Coach of the Year, and hell they have the NBA’s co-NBA Executive of the Year as a few awards to boast on this year’s success.

Their first two rounds have looked less than stellar. They had a hard time getting past Indiana even though they won in 5 games. They lost game one at home vs. Atlanta and from there that series was off on the wrong foot. Boozer had his struggles. Derrick failed to close a game and facilitate the ball in their second loss. Korver has essentially been a non-factor. And everyone in Chicago has been calling for Rasual Butler…

Wait, wait, wait, Rasual Butler!!!! Has Chicago pressed the panic button too early? Have they forgotten that in all four of the Bulls wins over Atlanta they won by double digits? The Bulls might have lost two games to Atlanta, but their wins weren’t even close and they closed out game six by 20 points. They are not riding into this series slumping at all.

If you remember Space Jam, this game is essentially the Monstars (see the Miami summer welcome to Miami clip and tell me they aren’t Monstariffic) vs. the Toon Squad (the underdogs that are led by one of the best). Let’s do a quick analysis of the biggest key points in the series…


Dwayne Wade, Lebron James vs. Derrick Rose

Not even a question this is the biggest and most important argument. It’s also the most blatantly obvious so I’m not going to spend your time or my time making too many points here. If D Rose doesn’t play like the NBA MVP in every game Miami wins in 5 or 6, no question. If D Wade or LBJ cool off at all at any point in the series, then it’s an obvious play that Chicago as the more complete team has the advantage.

Can 2 ½ players really beat a complete team with NBA’s MVP and Coach of the Year?

They absolutely can. This is the biggest point of the entire series. However here’s my argument against it and it’s an exercise that I want everyone to do with me. Look at this list and acknowledge those with their name’s scratched off. Then evaluate the ones with a complete name.

Lebron James

Chris Bosh

Dwayne Wade

Mario Chalmers

Joel Anthony

Mike Bibby

Erik Dampier

Udonis Haslem

Eddie House

Juwan Howard

Zydrunas Ilgauskas

Jamaal Magloire

Mike Miller

Dexter Pittman

No disrespect to those players not with a strikethrough in their name, but this is the supporting cast, and there is a strong potential that they can all be NBA champions in a month from now…exactly.

I think Lebron might have over exaggerated with his celebration after round two. Why? Well he deserved to feel like he got that monkey off his back and that was clearly his release.  However, I think he might have forgotten one very important thing. Outside of Paul Pierce, the most important figure that represented that monkey that was the Celtics wasn’t in the organization this season. That man is now the Bulls Head Coach. Did Lebron forget that Thibs was the architect of the Boston Defense that took down both Dwayne Wade’s team and his team last season (outside of Delonte West playing some defense too). Thibodeau has essentially made his career as a coach on shutting down Lebron in the playoffs. Does anyone think that’s exactly going to change this year?

To the credit of all Miami fans, this is Lebron’s best team so far, and Luol Deng isn’t exactly Paul Pierce. But it’s not like Lu is a chump here. He will be on Lebron for 46 minutes of every game in the playoffs (provided he’s healthy). Lebron will definitely get his, but if Lu can contain LBJ to a 25ppg average instead of a 30+ then I consider this a success.

The biggest takeaway here is everyone has to believe that the defense that brought the Celtics one title and two trips to the finals and that also brought the Bulls the league’s lowest points per game average in the course of the season will come to play. Thibodeau will have a game plan to execute defensively and if I had to guess it would largely revolve around letting Lebron get his and letting him go one on one, but smothering every player on the court who doesn’t have a strike through their name above.

Miami will 100% win this series if James Jones averages over 10 points per game, if Mike Miller shoots over 45% from 3, and if Bibby is able to be a big ex-factor. Those are the players that will absolutely shoot the Bulls down. If D Wade and Lebron prance around for 20 seconds of the shot clock then dish it off to a role player who hits a shot, you mine as well put a fork in the Bulls. But if you force Dwayne and Lebron to score 85% of the Heat’s points, you have to believe the Bulls are in a good position to win.

Carlos Boozer vs. Chris Bosh

On the same point as the last with defense, I don’t think Thibodeau will have Boozer guard Bosh, but rather have Boozer guard the offensive liability that is Joel Anthony. It makes no sense to not put Joakim Noah on Bosh and Boozer on Anthony. However, this is not what this point is all about. Everyone in Chicago is dawgin Boozer. He hasn’t come to play in the playoffs, he doesn’t play defense, and he’s going to be reason we are going to lose.

Chris Bosh is just as much of a wildcard. If Bosh has a great series, then the Heat are in a great position to win. But if he disappears then they are in a terrible position to win. This series and potentially the next for the Heat will determine the make up of this team for years to come as the “big 3” or whether it’s just James and Wade. The 4-spot that plays the best in the series will have a bigger influence on the series than any of the other starters.

The rivalry is just beginning… and this will ultimately be the first chapter in what should be a great rivalry for years to come. It has potential to be like Bulls/Knicks of the 90s! Chicago hates Dwayne Wade and Lebron James for teasing us and getting us excited about them to come here. Derrick Rose was offended that Dwayne or Lebron never responded to his text’s over the summer trying to recruit them. Dwayne Wade wants to be the man in Chicago and still has a big fan base here in the city he was raised in. Lebron wants to just win titles, and Chicago as the most complete team will consistenly be their biggest competition for years to come.

Let’s not forget the best part in the fact that Joakim Noah and Lebron James hate each other. I don’t know many players that really dislike Lebron. But Joakim as the leader of this team hates Lebron, back to the time two Decembers ago when Joakim got upset at the dance-a-thon that went on in Cleveland during a game. I think that these two have the possibility of raising the stakes and raising the intensity of this series.

I really don’t know which way to go with this series. Do I go with the team that’s got the more proven playoff formula of better coaching, better defense and better big men? Or do I go with the team that has the better superstars? Both formulas have worked before and I really hope that at the end of this series, we will be saying that this series was better than Chicago/Boston round one three seasons ago.

But at the end of the day, I really, really, truly hate the Heat. I despise everything that they stand up for and their over inflated egos. Yeah I’m from Chicago, but I love the humble Derrick Rose/Kevin Durant breed of superstar. I can’t stand Heat fans who claim to either be die-hard city fans, or who claim that they aren’t apart of this bandwagon. The Lebron movement is annoying, and it’s really one of those that casts a net that just rubs the wrong way. Lebron is a great player though.

With all of that being said, it’s going to be DA BULLS IN 7!


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1 Comment »

  1. Jake, you need to kick this blog back off again…you were pushing out some impressive Chicago sports content!

    Comment by Bear_Caldwell — March 10, 2013 @ 9:06 pm

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